How did you become involved in Improv?
I was a huge theatre geek in high school and had the opportunity to study some improv before I came to college. My high school theatre department took biannual field trips to Chicago and the students got to take workshops with several of the renowned Chicago improv groups. I found I was good at it and enjoyed getting a laugh, and thought it would be something I would look into doing at college. At W&M Day for Admitted Students, I met several students from Sandbox Improv. They seemed really fun, and I really clicked with them. They seemed like people I would want to be friends with at college. When freshman year started, I found out that most improv groups take only about two or three people each time they have auditions, and with thirty people signed up, my chances of making a troupe were slim. I had nothing to lose by auditioning, and auditions were held early enough in the year for me to find something else to do if it didn’t work out. When I found out I made it into Sandbox, I was really excited.
How have you found laughter therapeutic?
Laughter is a great way to de-stress. At a school like William & Mary, it’s important not to get too caught up in academics, and taking time out of your day to laugh a little bit will help you realize what’s really important in life.
Are you interested in pursuing a career in Improv after college?
I don’t think I’m going to pursue a career in doing improv, but I would love to continue doing it on the side. Performing improv is something that a lot of professional workplaces actually encourage. It helps with your listening skills, problem-solving skills, and collaboration skills.
What is your favorite memory from your Improv group?
Last summer, one of the members of Sandbox got married, and we were all invited to attend his wedding. The wedding made me realize what an impact Sandbox had on not only his life but on all our lives. These people have become my dear friends. After college, they will be the ones I keep in touch with. They will be the first people I tell about any major life event. After the tearful goodbyes were said to the bride and groom at the end of the wedding, the rest of the members of Sandbox stayed at the farm where the reception was held and attempted to set up a tent where we would sleep for the night. Although we were never able to figure out how to set up the tent (we probably should’ve set it up before the sun went down), we had a great time laughing and telling ghost stories.
If you had to recruit other students to your improv team, what would you tell them?
You have nothing to lose by auditioning! So many people think that you need theatrical experience, but that’s not true at all. We have several people in our troupe who have never done any sort of acting before Sandbox. People also think you need to be laugh-out-loud funny to be good at improv, but that’s not true either. Some of our best improvisers don’t make very many jokes, but they are good at setting up other people to make jokes, and as a result, improve the quality of our show tenfold.
In addition, make friends with the people you are improvising with! Not only will you have a better experience, but it helps if you have some sort of idea of what is about to come out of the other person’s mouth while onstage. Sandbox hangs out all the time, whether it be at rehearsal, on Friday nights, taking vacations, or even just bothering to grab lunch at the Caf in the middle of a stressful week.